I made a tablet weaving loom today :)


I made a loom today :)

I have been planning on making a loom I can use specifically for tablet weaving (aka card weaving), but hadn't gotten around to it. But when I suddenly had a free hour this morning, I ran over to Hardel's Lumber and bought stuff! This was not entirely off the cuff design- I have been looking at pictures of tablet weaving looms for a long time. So I knew what I was going to make, even if it took me a while to get here.

tablet weaving loom

It took about an hour to put together, and its pretty simple. And pretty! The red is the natural color of this wood, padouk. 

To make it, I had the shop cut me a piece three feet long, then had them take off four pieces from one end: two @ 1.5 inches wide and two @ 2 inches wide. The 2 inch wide pieces became the uprights the warp is stretched across. They are attached with screws to the base. The 1.5 inch wide pieces are laying flat at the ends, with the wingnuts and bolts, and are the tensioning devices.

I am sure I will discover some "should-haves" as I work on it, but the simplicity should work in my favor.

(The work I stuck on for right now is a piece I started in a class with Linda Hendrickson. It is destined to become a leash for my pug dog named Zaboo.)


Here is a close up of the end so you can see the gorgeous color of the wood!


Total cost: $27, of which about half was the cost for the wood. A piece of nice strong maple or oak would have been less spendy. But pretty!



Edit: As I was cleaning up all the pretty little wood dust, It suddewnly struck me that this gorgeous colorful wood may not be colorfast. So I wiped a piece of white cloth against and Nope! Not colorfast LOL I will need to add a sealer.

So I have two questions for anyone out there:

#1 What sealer does anyone recommend for this? I may go for a UV sealer even, so the color stay all bringt.

#2 I am not sure how to keep the bolts on the tensioner from slipping out the bottom. I did a simple countersink on the botton, so they are flush with the bottom, but my hopeful attempt to wood-glue isn't really working, as you might imagine. I am not a wood worker, so am winging it and making things up as I go. Any advice is of interest.




I made some adjustments and added photos in a later post.


Posted on Sat, 06/30/2012 - 06:43

you might consider a clear polyerthane.  But, I'm no wood expert.  But the loom looks great!!

Posted on Sat, 06/30/2012 - 15:09

Pretty!   I'm not sure what you mean by saying the "bolts on the tensioner from slipping out the bottom." Picture please.

And what parts were wood glued? The only things I see that would be wood glued would be the uprights that are screwed on.

BTW, you may not have a problem with this, but the pieces that are the tensioning devices have the grain going the wrong way.  For strength, the grain should be going from side to side.  The way this piece is cut will be prone to bending because of the direction of the grain, and if you bolt down a thick enough piece of weaving, it will crack.   But, you can always get pieces of some other wood cut the other way and replace those pieces.

Wood is simply a pile of straws stuck together.  The grain shows which way the straws are laying.   Longer straws are stronger.

As for finishing it, any varnish will do.  Put on one coat and let it dry.   This first coat will raise the grain, so it will be rough.   After it's dry, sand it down and put on another coat.  That coat will dry smooth if you did a good sanding job.

Nice, simple little loom!   Good job!



Posted on Sun, 07/01/2012 - 06:05

Thanks, it really is pretty wood!

As far as the direction of grain, yes I know. But I had to ask the lumber store to make the cuts for me and I didn't want to press my luck, so I just had them cut small sections from the base. I will have to see how it weathers over time. I am hoping the washers help even distribute the pressure and it dosn't have a massive break suddenly.

Glue: I was referring to the screws. I took a shot at gluing the heads of the tensioning screws to the base, but of course it didn't work. This picture is the bottom of the loom. The smaller wood screws are set just fine. The larger, silver colored screw heads are the used for tensioning. I just don't want to to fall out whenever I loosen the tension. Hence the unsuccessful glue experiment. It is definitely not the most important part, just something I am fussing over.

Posted on Sun, 07/01/2012 - 16:20

So, you must be taking the wood off totally to slip the weaving under it to tension it, right?   And when you do that the screws fall out.  Do you have to take the wood off totally, or could you just slip the weaving under the wood?   It might require longer screws, but then, longer screws may get in the way as you weave.

The other option would be to take a little piece of something (thin wood, plexiglass, cardboard, etc.) and attach it to the bottom of the loom (screws, tape glue, etc.) so that the screws are captured.


Posted on Wed, 01/09/2013 - 15:48

I forgot to add a little update about my solution: sticky-back green felt discs. That was all I needed! I had a sheet of them and tried them out and all is well now. 

Posted on Sat, 07/13/2013 - 16:10

Nice do you mind of I use your idea for a spare tablet loom.  We have been rearranging the house and all my looms seem to have gone missing...  AND sigh I scheduled to give a demo soon.

Posted on Sun, 07/14/2013 - 22:53

Hi Spindledreams, I hope you do make one and share your own version and thoughts on it. Mine was designed to be as simple as possible, so I am sure someone with better carpentry skills would make a number of improvements.

Posted on Tue, 07/16/2013 - 03:24

Could you use longer screws? Then you can loosen the tension bar to move your warp forward .

Posted on Tue, 07/16/2013 - 03:24

Could you use longer screws? Then you can loosen the tension bar to move your warp forward .

Posted on Fri, 08/09/2013 - 18:07

Wry grin seems not only did my looms go MIA so did my tablets so spent time with a cheap pack of cards then a trip to Fed Ex Office to get them drilled.  They only charged me a penny a card and so worth it to save my hands.    The off to the lumber yard to get wood for my loom and have it cut.   I got a peice of 1 x 8 Hemlock that was 4 ft long for under $10 and then had them cut off peices like you did.  Plus I asked for a set of pieces that were 3 inches wide so I could use my bigger cards with out problems by simply swapping out the uprights.  

I didn't remember you used screws with wing nuts go got some small bolts for mine.   DH slapped it togeather in about 35 minutes so no fancy counter sinking of the bolts or even time to sand it as I was already running late.  

Mine is about 44 inches from end to end and is actually perfect for
demos as it gives a nice long weaving section to show off what my
weaving looks like.  In fact it worked so nicely that I was asked to make more and give a LESSON on tablet weaving with them next year at  the fair.  :-D  Thank you so much for the orginal idea.

I hauled it back to the fair yesterday (demo was weds not thursday which explains the rush on the loom)  and finished weaving off the warp I had on it.   The hauling around highlighted some minor things I will want to work out but also the day spent using it showed me just how nice it really is for all its simplicity.   I ended up holding it sideways in my lap and weaving with the shuttle going away from then towards my body.  

Comments:  For a class I would make shorter and narrower versions which would work for somthing like a friendship bracelet or book mark.  

I would also like to figure out a way to hold excess warp and weaving up off the ground when hauling the loom around without ruining the simplicty and portability of my loom.   But as far as actuall weaving it is really much much nicer then I expected.  I think my inkle looms can now go back to doing only inkle...

Posted on Sat, 08/10/2013 - 05:47

Sounds like success to me! Good job on the demos- and I would love to see pictures of your large and small boards. As far as ways to control the loose ends, I see a lot of people just gather them into a draw-string bag. I have wound mine around an extra shuttle too, and used a stretchy cotton, like those used with the potholder looms. I am always trying to envision ways to make the unwinding process not so tangled. Please let us know what you decide on.

Posted on Wed, 08/21/2013 - 02:41

You could add a nut at the place where the two clamping boards meet then countersink them into the upper clamping board.  That would keep the lower board nice and tight while letting you remove the upper.

Does that make any sense?

Marietta in MO

Posted on Wed, 08/21/2013 - 01:13

Hi there,

I am looking to start a little herd of bunny-girls next spring.  Do you know of breeders in MO?

They don't seem to be too awfully plentiful around here?


Marietta in MO

Posted on Sat, 09/07/2013 - 16:39

I love your loom, I know this is coming late, but I have to compliment you on it.  Do you have a difficult time keeping the tension even when You advance your warp?  If so, how do you deal with that issue?

Thanks, Janean

Posted on Sat, 09/07/2013 - 17:57

When I advance the warp on this board, I have to reset the tension each time. So I usually get the cloth area where I want it, then I take advanatge of the access to the unwoven portion and straighten them out. It isn't super wide, so once I have things straightened, I just pull them back and slowly screw down the clamp part. the 90 degree angle on the uprights help to maintain the tension while I am clamping it.

Posted on Sat, 09/07/2013 - 18:32

Blush been busy with other things and never got a photo up of my loom built based on Sarahnopp's loom.   This was slapped togeather in under an hour from first cut to usable loom.  It is still in the orginal rough shape from that first rush but works well.  board loom using Fir

Posted on Sat, 09/07/2013 - 18:43

Now the reason for the other post will become clear.  My friend Phyliss a weaver was intrigued with my simple board loom but felt it had the same short comings that I did.  IE no way to keep excess warp or woven strip confined when moving it around.   Today she brought over her solution to the problem.  A simple modificatio to the board loom plans that can even be made to my already built loom :-)

She replaced the plain screws/bolts with eye bolts! The "eyes" hold a piece of dowel that you simply wind your warp or strap around.  She then added stops on the bottom that screwed onto the end of the eye bolts.

Phyliss and modified board loom


feet on end of eye bolts

dowel holding warp




Posted on Sun, 09/08/2013 - 04:43

Thanks for sharing those Spindledreams. I love what your friend did with the warp and cloth beams. I don't really do long warps so it wasn't something I worried about too awful much. I can definitely see some ways beams would help in mine too though. My earliest plans for my board included a set of tensioner blocks or rods, like you use for backstrap weaving. I still like that idea and may try it another time.

Posted on Sat, 08/29/2015 - 19:57

If I was to do double faced weave and typically use a continuous warping method how would I warp a board loom like this without getting a total mess? This seems like the perfect loom if I could just figure that out first!

Thanks, Linda